Go-Fer is gone

Convenience store closed; Developers eye key downtown location



Go-Fer Foods, a convenience store on Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, has closed, and the property owners currently are talking with developers about the future of the site.

— The closing of a long-time convenience store signals more change in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Paul Brown, whose family has owned the real estate affiliated with the Go-Fer Foods store at Seventh and Lincoln for three generations, said Monday he and his father, Bob, have talked to more than one developer about the future of the site.

Jim Cook of Colorado Group Real Estate confirmed he has talked to the Browns about the property.

"I am aware of a client with our firm who is interested in the site and has made an offer," Cook said.

Steamboat Springs businessman Dan Bonner closed the store Dec. 22 after leasing it for a decade from the Browns' business, Monument Oil of Grand Junction. Bonner said he has known for years that he would not renew his lease with Monument Oil.

"We had a very loyal clientele for a long time," Bonner said. "I've been talking to (the Browns) for a couple of years about my plans not to extend the lease. I don't think they have any intention of reopening (as a convenience store). It's a pivotal corner. With the value of the property, landowners can't get the return on investment from what a convenience store can generate."

Brown said his family has not made a decision about in what direction they'll go with their property in the future.

"Dan Bonner's lease and franchise agreement expired, and we have talked to other parties about running (the store)," Brown said. "In the meantime, we were approached by several developers - two of the three are already involved in the redevelopment of downtown Steamboat.

"It may be more beneficial economically to look at redevelopment. With the redev-elopment already under way in Steamboat, they may want to go to the north side of Lincoln."

Another business affected by the uncertain future of Go-Fer Foods is Pisa's downtown location, which leased its space in the convenience store from Bonner. Owner Chris Hebrank said the store is closed pending the Browns' decision.

"Hopefully, there will be a new owner who wants to operate a convenience store there," Hebrank said.

Pisa's Pizza and Pasta remains open for business as usual in Riverside Center on Steamboat's west side.

Go-Fer Foods is diagonally across the intersection of Seventh and Lincoln from the future Howelsen Place. The Harbor Hotel was demolished earlier this winter to make room for Howelsen Place. Cook is a member of the development team at Howelsen Place.

Howelsen Place is among five major commercial and residential projects under construction or in the planning process downtown.

Butcherknife Creek runs underneath the Go-Fer Food property in a culvert before day-lighting on the south side of Lincoln in front of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Coffee House. Bonner said the underground fuel tanks at the gas station were replaced a decade ago, before he assumed operation of the business.

Many Steamboat residents refer to the just-closed convenience store as "Space Station Gas" in acknowledgment of the 1950s-era sign on the street corner.

Historic preservation expert Arianthe Stettner said it is an example of an era in American roadside signs that dates to the beginning of the Space Race.

The trend was prompted, she said, when the former Soviet Union launched the satellite known as Sputnik in 1956.

"We need to save that sign," Stettner said.

The red and white sign, which has survived two remodelings of the convenience store, is topped with a spherical "satellite."

Brown said his father, Bob Brown, has been in touch with officials at the City of Steam-boat Springs who expressed their interest in preserving the sign. He added that several national companies have sought to use the sign in national ad campaigns.

Bob Brown's father, Cloy R. Brown founded Monument Oil in 1929. The sign probably was built in 1959, Paul Brown said. His family owns 18 Go-Fer Foods stores on the Western Slope and leases them to independent operators.

Bonner, who has developed a specialty in commercial real estate with Colorado Group Realty, recently announced he also would resume his career as a certified public accountant with Tredway Henion and Kerr PC.

Bonner acknowledged that the residents of Old Town have come to rely on Go-Fer Foods for grocery staples, but he believes there are other businesses that can meet those needs.

"When I look at it, there are other options," Bonner said. "They can get those things at Healthy Solutions and (Bam-boo Market Health Foods) and they can get the Sunday paper at the book store."

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com


WZ 10 years, 5 months ago

Yet another blow to "Main St., USA".

When I moved to Steamboat, in downtown you could do "real" grocery shopping, go to the post office, renew your license plate on your car, have it repaired and and fill up its tank, buy hardware to repair a fence, get a haircut for a couple of bucks, etc. Downtown was for locals.

City Market moved to the "burbs". Boggs closed up shop, and now the Space Station. The Space Station for goodness sake! The courthouse will no longer be, and then there's the talk of the post office. Bob at Conoco is ready to retire, and who wants to place a bet that the pumps at 3rd and Lincoln will remain?! How many t-shirt shops and real estate companies were on your "Main St." where you are from?! Now downtown is for tourists.

The forces that be are dismantling "the town". So be it.

But what's beginning to irk me about this whole deal is how the individuals and organizations behind it all use the smoke screen of "Main St." and "locals" to exploit the original essence of Steamboat Springs which they are helping to destroy. It has the feel of "false advertising" behind it. They should call it "Nuevo Main St." or something "trendy" like that. But please, spare us.

There is waaay more to get into on this topic than there is interest in doing so in this comment space, so..... God bless Steamboat Springs, or what it used to be!


jpatsteele 10 years, 5 months ago

Please capitalize official names, titles-such as former presidents, wars, and court case titles, to fully respect or represent them, especially when using them as a reference to your own oppinion.


vic 10 years, 5 months ago

gee, where are all the underage drinkers going to hang out now? Oh, I guess they will still congregate in the parking lot across the street after purchasing their booze elsewhere.


Otto_Stader 10 years, 5 months ago

in my o-p-p-inion you should learn how to spell before giving english grammar lessons

The folks at the Pilot are revealing their agenda by what they do not print. The only problem is that most of you don't know what they don't print even when it affects your rights and freedoms.

Reindeer Monologues gets a long story. A show at the Christian Center gets nothing. A column by a person who claims to have no religion, describing how she gets through the holiday in spite of it, gets lots of space. Gerry Ford gets page 20.

Yeah, we know the Pilot's agenda. It's painfully obvious.

And, back to the point of the thread, if you want to make the next fortune in real estate, invest in Milner. I hear they're getting a casino. Maybe they can use a gas station, too.


jeep 10 years, 5 months ago

there goes jim crook again going to make steamboat look like brickboat. next he'll try the be mayor so he can change the name of steamboat to cook co. what a jerk he is


JazzSlave 10 years, 5 months ago


Your reply is overdue. I've been wondering how long it was going to take you to respond to some of the "neener neener neener" twaddle thrown at you in this forum.


Scott Stanford 10 years, 5 months ago

Davinci and Otto:

As the editor of the silly fish wrapper, allow me to offer the following explanation.

Our news market is intensely local. In five years as editor, we have only lead our newspaper with a national wire story one time - Sept. 12, 2001.

The alert on President Ford's death came at 9:39 p.m. According to our deadlines, all national news pages should be done by that time. Our editors re-made a national page with enough newshole to accommodate such a story. Then, they re-made the front page to include President Ford's death (we erred by not changing the listing from "Colorado" to "Nation") in our tease package on the left side of the front page. The front page also included a reference to another late-breaking story - the fire at The Pines -

I will be among the first to acknowledge our mistakes. This was not one of them - our copy editors handled the death of President Ford exactly as they should have given the lateness of the news and the market our newspaper serves.

Finally to Otto - I assume from your writing that you believe the newspaper has an anti-Christian bias or agenda. Perhaps you missed the daily listing of Christmas religious services or the promotion of Brent Rowan and Regi Stone's Christmas Eve concert? Or promotion of the Salvation Army's Christmas efforts to assist in its faith-based mission? Or the promotion of the coat drive at Anchor Way Baptist Church? Or the weekly listing of worship services? Or Cal Thomas 'regular writing on ethics and spirituality? I could go on, but the point is that it is unfair, inaccurate and offensive to imply that the newspaper has an anti-Christianity agenda.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4221/(970) 291-9278 editor@steamboatpilot.com


stormvet101 10 years, 5 months ago

Hello to all, I lived in steamboat back in the late 70 and early 80, everyone back then was nice to everyone and would do pretty much anything for you, Now all I am reading about is bickering and bad mouthing everyone what happen to the small town friendy place. I was thinking of moving back to steamboat in 2007, but from what I am reading about steamboat is not the little nice town that I remember.


Otto_Stader 10 years, 5 months ago

Interesting that you'd put an "anti-Christian" spin on this. Since when is Gerald Ford's death a Christian issue?

There's hard local news all around you and you print fluff. Look back at the "Record" sections which have been deleted from the website and archives in the past couple of months and tell me there's not an agenda.


vic 10 years, 5 months ago

stormvet - no, it is NOT the nice friendly town you remember.


JazzSlave 10 years, 5 months ago


It all depends upon one's perspective, I suppose.

My previous career in radio landed me in communities all over the country (west of the Mississippi; can't speak for the East), both large and small and in between.

Steamboat, when contrasted to those experiences, ranks among the most amicable and friendly environments I've ever been privileged to be a part of.


vic 10 years, 4 months ago

Right - understood and agree...however, the air in Steamboat has changed immensely. As I see it, people have moved to Steamboat (over the years)because of the serene beauty and amicable small town ambience...then proceeded to "change" it to exactly what they left behind. Someone who moved out in the 70's would be horrified to moved back now. There is not much left of the "old Boat".


Matthew Stoddard 10 years, 4 months ago

I used to work at Go-Fer's in the early 90's and I'm surprised this article never bothered mentioning Cal & Carole Ranck who ran Go-Fer's for about 15yrs. What a shame. Working for them was great. They always brought small gifts back from their stays in Mexico for not only their employees, but for some of the "regulars" that came in all the time.


Don Carter 10 years, 4 months ago

I've got some real fond memories of going to Go-fer late at night......I'm glad I've got a good video of it from when I was there in the 80's......and I hear the Hot Springs is all hoity toity these days....it must cost an arm and leg by now.....Is that great Rabbit Ears Motel sign still thar?...anyway....Happy New year to all you folks up there, hippies and straight folks alike...........rat now, I'm stuck in this Atlanta 65 degree stuff.....it's just awful....Yo friend, Hollywood


dave reynolds 10 years, 4 months ago

I also worked for Cal and Carol..great people..there should have been something said about them..real sad day when jacki passed..God Bless her...anyway another landmark bites the dust


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